iPhone 14 shows that Apple will refine every single component rather than betting on miraculous solutions

Time flies and you may not even realize it, but we’re only three months away The iPhone 14 series is expected to launch in September 2022.

Apple is preparing to launch four models of the iPhone 14, replacing the mini model with a full-sized iPhone, while keeping the other three versions intact.

And while the list of new features is quite long, there’s one leaked update that we keep hearing that came as a bit of a surprise to me: an all-new front-facing camera shared between all four new models.

Why is it surprising? Well, for starters, the iPhone’s camera is already good enough, but we also constantly hear news of Android phone makers switching to front-facing cameras hidden under the screen, i.e. completely invisible, while Apple simply … doubles up on a traditional front. camera? “Boring!” I can almost hear the crowd screaming. And also out of tune with the rest of the industry moving us into the future, right? Not only that, this new front camera is configured as the most expensive ever used on an iPhone!

So what is this move all about? And what about Apple? Let’s try to understand by looking at the …

Evolution of the front camera for iPhone

I had completely forgotten that the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s had a … pathetic 0.3MP front camera! VGA ?! Times were different.

But that’s not even the worst part: the iPhone 3GS and previous models didn’t even have a front camera! Now, it has become such an essential smartphone element that it’s hard to imagine the phone just a decade ago … it didn’t even have one!

And as you can see, we’ve seen the evolution of those iPhone front cameras. We started with a mediocre 1.2MP selfie shooter on the iPhone 6 (720p video only) to the new 12MP front shooter used by the iPhone 11 (with sweet 4K videos).

So what’s next? 8K on the selfie cam? It is possible, but it sounds like an excess.

Why front cameras are important

At the same time, we must realize that the front cameras are important. There is still this sentiment from the past that front cameras are only for futile selfies and you should almost feel guilty for using them. But the reality is different: for a large number of people, front-facing cameras are essential.

TikTokers, YouTuber, even a simple video call … On a recent hike, I vlogged exclusively on the iPhone 13 Pro’s front camera and enjoyed Cinematic mode support for the front camera, which turned that footage into something that looked almost if it was captured on a full size DSLR with nice creamy bokeh.

Not only that, a front facing camera is obviously essential for video conferencing and we all know how important it is when working from home.

Like it or not, the front-facing camera is becoming more and more important and being used more than ever, and it only makes sense that Apple is investing in improving it.


So what do we know about the new iPhone 14 front camera?

We know it will cost Apple a little more … up to three times more, if you care about the details! This is a huge cost increase, so much so that some claim Apple now internally classifies this system as a “high-end” component!

Apple would have chosen the Korean company LG Innotek to supply the new camera together with Sharp from Japan. The reason for switching to a Korean manufacturer from previous Chinese suppliers is precisely because of that “high-end” rating and Apple’s requirements for quality with that category.

Consistent with the strategy of the Cinematographic Mode

Not only that, the new autofocus system is perfectly suited to two features that Apple has popularized in smartphones and considers its own favorites: portrait mode for photos and cinema mode for videos.

The new autofocus system with a wider aperture will allow for a more pronounced “bokeh” effect and will naturally enhance your portrait and cinema mode shots due to its physical properties.

And one thing we know about Apple is that it is in the long game when it comes to new features, gradually improving them generation after generation, and this is a major improvement towards the realization of two features that Apple has brought into the mainstream such as portrait and cinema modes. .

Under Display (UD) Front cameras

Last but not least, we have to mention the UD front cameras. Having a camera under the screen means it’s hidden, so you can have a true edge-to-edge screen without interruptions. It is a profitable prospect.

However, the technology is still in its infancy and there are problems. The The Galaxy Z Fold series is the only mainstream phone with the technology that comes to mind, and while the camera is below the screen it’s not exactly invisible as you can clearly see a series of pixels in its place.
The new launched ZTE Axon 40 Ultra does best in this regard and masterfully hides the camera, so you get a true edge-to-edge screen. Still, the image quality – while better than the first generation of those cameras – remains simply “passable”, but definitely not good.

Do you know what else is common between Z Fold 3 and ZTE Axon 40 Ultra? Yes, the trade-offs they both make in terms of the quality of those cameras, but also that both are niche devices that will be sold in small numbers. Imagine that Apple has to sell tens of millions of iPhones with this new technology that’s crude. Yes, Apple is late to the party and it will be, but that’s one of the shortcomings when you have such a large scale.

Final thoughts

We know for a fact that Apple is looking into cameras under the display, but its reluctance to experiment with one tells us even more.

It tells us Apple won’t be betting its most popular product selling tens of millions of units on unproven experimental technology. It’s just the way things are when you’re on that scale.

But it also tells us that Apple will not overlook any components, even something that by many standards is already “good enough”. Investing three times more in a better front camera isn’t something users have just asked the company, yet it is doing it. Perfecting every single component rather than jumping on the hype train of any new technology that will give it quick payoffs. And that may be just what makes the iPhone as successful as it is.

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